Integrity is a rare bird these days. Not only do most people expect you to lie to them, some seem genuinely surprised when you don’t.
Several years ago, my wife was shopping at Walmart and was looking at clothes on the discount racks. She found a shirt that my daughter loved, and as she continued her shopping, Karis held onto the shirt and clutched it closely.
Jacinda finished getting what she needed, checked out and was loading the kids and supplies in to the car when she noticed Karis still holding tightly onto her new shirt. She had forgotten about it and it was never paid for.
So, my lovely wife packed the kids back up and headed into Walmart and back to the same cashier as she was before to present the stolen shirt. The cashier was incredulous, wondering why a lady with three small children would make such an effort to pay for a $3 shirt. The reason? Integrity.
After Saul and Barnabas had spent a year in Antioch teaching the people, a collection was raised for the church in Jerusalem.
Back in Acts 8:1, a fierce persecution had started and many of the believers in the Jerusalem church were hurting financially.
Sual and Barnabas were chosen to take charge of this money and to see its safe arrival to Jerusalem.
Now at this point, Saul still wasn’t really all that established in the Christian church. So far he had managed to preach boldly and make a lot of people mad, and that’s about it.
But Barnabas was a known commodity, and the two of them made the trip together.
This says something about Barnabas’ integrity. Money for most people is hard to come by, and to trust someone enough to bring it safely to a place several weeks away without dipping into it for cheeseburger money says something about that person’s honesty and integrity.
(Act 11:28-30) And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Solomon tells us; (Pro 11:3) The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
The word integrity is an interesting one. It comes from the word, integer meaning ‘whole’, ‘complete’.
The idea is that one is complete, or undivided. There aren’t parts of the person that are sometimes honest, and sometimes dishonest. He/she is one whole. Complete. A person of integrity.
Barnabas is showing himself to be a stand-up guy. I’m sure when he went to bed, he whistled softly Psalm 25.
(Psa 25:21) Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
Ryan King is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Westville